In May of 2012, Italian BMX Street rider Simone Barraco released a video for Nike BMX featuring himself fellow Nike teammate Alex Kennedy riding Tel Aviv, Israel.
A week after the video was released, Barraco received an alternate invite to X Games Los Angeles for BMX Street. He accepted the invite and flew to Los Angeles, on the off chance that he might be able to compete. Fellow invites Nathan Williams and Ty Morrow later dropped out due to injuries.
Barraco became the first Italian BMX rider to receive an invite to X Games. And while getting to ride in the X Games is an honor in itself, Barraco placed fifth, not far off the podium. This year, Barraco will return to X Games Barcelona to compete against the like of Garrett Reynolds and Chad Kerley. Recently, we sat down with Barraco to discuss his return to X Games.
XGames.com: You are the first Italian BMX athlete in the story who went to X Games, and last year in you finished in fifth place. How did it feel to ride there?
Barraco: Last year in Los Angeles it was pretty fun to ride with all the best dudes on the course. I was definitely a little bit nervous because it is a huge event with some of the best riders, but I tried to enjoy the course and riding with my friends, and that's what I did. It's definitely awesome to get invited to X Games!
Next week, you will return to the X Games in Barcelona. Are you feeling pressured?
No, there's not much pressure. I want to try to enjoy myself and have as much fun as I did last year. I'll probably be nervous while there, but I know and love everyone on the course and I'll have some friends coming to watch. That will help me a lot.
Can you tell us about the recent Nike team trip to Barcelona?
That was a dream come true. We had the best apartment in the best city with some of my best friends and riders. We rode street every day in the good weather -- it was amazing!
What do you think about the level of street riding now?
It's getting crazy. There are lots of young street machines But street is good because it's not all about the contest.
How does it feel to ride against your Nike teammate and X Games gold medalist Garrett Reynolds?
It's just riding together, and waiting for Garrett's crazy runs that usually give him the gold. It's really fun watching everyone ride the course, especially riding practice!
What do you think about the X Games coming to Europe?
It sounds good and fun, even if the classic X Games in Los Angeles sounds more professional.